Composting

Plainfield, IL

Can one use dog waste in a compost pile?

My dogs eat no meat only dry food.

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

I know of several gardeners that composted dog manure for their gardens. They reported good results. I am not sure if there are many brands with organic products or not. That would be my only concern. I have used dog manure in worm composting also.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

The concern would be parasites (worms) & waste born diseases (e coli) that humans and dogs are both susceptible to. It doesn't matter if you, your pets, or both are vegetarians or eat only organic. Your compost would have get hot enough and break down thoroughly enough to kill these. Furthermore, you would have to have the pile somewhere that was inaccessible to the dogs - they shouldn't be exposed to their own waste

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

If there is no meat in your dogs food ...... poor dogs!

I haven't walked a mile in anyone's shoes, so I won't judge, but I'd have to be awfully desperate for compost or vermipost before I'd but dog, cat, or human waste in the raw product. Way too many potentially serious problems to take the risk.

Al

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Well, I have a confession to make. I scoop up the lawn before I mow. But if I miss a a little and if it ends up in the clippings for compost, I go ahead an use them.

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

PG, I don't have a dog but if I did I would probably do the same thing.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

The recommendation I have seen for composting dog poop is to dig a deep hole (outside of the area that edibles are planted in) and put the dog poop in it. At some point the hole gets buried and a new hole gets dug. We have a friend who does this. From what I remember she uses a large diameter pipe with an end cap on it to drop the poop through. Otherwise here is a USDA 2005 info on how to compost dog poop safely. http://www.myfairlakes.com/pdf/dogwastecomposting2.pdf

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

We use a five gallon bucket (drywall compound, pool chem etc) with the bottom cut off , and sunk almost all the way. Then you have a lid to cover it, no fly problems. When its getting full, move it. It takes a while to fill.

I don't manage m compost nearly well enough to ensure hot composting, I mostly have a cool leafy compost that I poke around in a lot, so no casual dog poop in there if I can help it.

By the way, cats carry Toxoplasmosis and its serious- you can read warnings about that. I wouldn't mess with cat stuff at all.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Cat poo is a nono. Dog poo isnt as rich, meat or not, and by the way, there are usually meat by products processed in with vegetable ones in dry dogfood- use sparingly but it breaks down to nothing. No animal should be exposed to its own waste and in the wilds or even a pasture- cows and horses will not graze in those spots for at least a year as a general rule. Human poo contains heavy metals that plants absorb, so isnt a good thing to use as is.

Bismarck, ND

I have a question about composting in the garage. I live in North Dakota so outside composting in the winter is at its best a challenge. I recently decided to try a dual tumbler in my garage but I'm not sure how its going to work out. I keep my garage at 45 degrees and I'm wondering if that will be warm enough for the compost to heat up. I just started so I don't expect any results for a while, but I was thinking about getting a heat lamp or emitter to help keep the drum warm. Has anybody tried anything like this? My outside pile looks like a huge frozen carrot/potato skin popsicle.

Hobart, IN

1. I wouldn't compost animal waste as there is the possibility of parasites, even with dogs.
2. Dan - vegetable scraps can slow down composting. In order to heat up composting, adding a high nitrogen component will help. Not sure if coffee grounds is a high enough nitrogen level or not. Have you ever considered a worm bin for your kitchen scraps? Might break down even faster than in a traditional compost pile.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

in my experience a good dose of kitchen waste or coffee grounds DOES help a brown leafy pile heat up, at least when there is moderate air temp. I don't know if you will get going at 45 degrees. The freeze should help break down the cell walls but you'll need to turn and aerate that. Have chunky brown leaves in there too?

Bismarck, ND

Thanks Cindy and Sally. I tried worms a few years back but I think my thumb is more green than brown. Didn't have much luck. Little guys ended up all over the floor. This was in my basement and my wife wasn't thrilled so out they went. My venture for the rest of this winter is to try kitchen scraps and browns (mostly shredded paper). If this was outside on the sun I would expect good results. Just not sure about inside at 45 degrees. Nothing tried nothing gained. I'll report back in a couple of weeks.

Hobart, IN

Dan - I'm interested to hear how it works for you. I'm stockpiling coffee grounds in empty coffee cans in the garage (heated) until I can get them out to the compost pile in the spring. Right now it seems almost a waste since everything is pretty much frozen here as I'm sure you are. I have two compost piles - one for just brown leaves and coffee grounds for gardening and another one for really coarse yard/tree waste which is on a slope to intentionally stop erosion. Kitchen scraps generally go in the latter. If it was on flat ground, I might consider hugelkultur. I do have a worm tower in the garage but haven't had any escapees. It goes outdoors in a shady corner in warmer weather.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

A cheap source of Nitrogen is alfalfa meal, available at your feed store. Do not substitute rabbit pellets, or any other "feed" pellets, as they usually have salt added. That is what I use in the fall when I have lots of carbon/brown but not much nitrogen/green.
Compost should be evenly damp, not wet or dry.

This message was edited Feb 19, 2015 3:11 PM

Hobart, IN

I forgot all about alfalfa but can one buy GMO-free alfalfa meal?

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I did a quick search and found GMO-free alfalfa feed for animals, but again, that is what you do NOT want due to the added salt.

Bismarck, ND

Quick update on composting in the garage. I've been placing material in the tumbler for a couple of weeks now and I do get some heat generated but not high enough. I think I have to put more in so there is more volume. I took a indoor/outdoor thermometer probe and taped it onto the end of a stick and stuck it through one of the end holes so I can check the temp without opening the container. If I get compost out this, great, if not, well then I got a great small tumbler I can set beside my garden.

Savannah, GA

I compost by making a circle out of hardware cloth and putting leaves and clipping in it. Once I get a nice depth of that I quit adding them or it gets too deep and won't rot properly.

I put every kitchen scrap I can find in it! I pick the banana peels out of the break room trash can at work! I have a couple plastic coffee cans with lids that work great for keeping in the kitchen to collect my goodies.

Eventually I bury them in the leaves as well as I can. Right now the stuff I bury disappears in a week or so for the most part. My pile is too large to turn but I sort of shuffle the pile around as best I can. Large lively works flop around, I catch a few to give to my two chickens.

I bury dog poop. and chicken poop. Sometimes I add a little ammonium nitrate, especially when new. I missed the nice deciduous leaves so I had to use pine straw and live oak leaves as the "substrate" to bury my kitchen scraps and other things.

Eventually it will get to a point where I quit adding those things, then I quit adding the kitchen scraps and let the pile "finish". I open the wire and scrap what remains of the pile out. The edges are pretty much not composted because of being close to the wire. The top as well to a certain extent. But for the most part it's black sweet earthy stuff.

Sometimes I add glacial rock dust, dolomite, or other additive. The acidic compost helps to release the minerals contained it that kind of thing.

My dogs are checked for worms regularly. I think the worry over dog poo is overrated. I guess it depends on the health of the dog. In the past I've also put small dead animals, like rats I've caught in traps. When my cockatiel died of old age I added him to the pile. I couldn't really bury him or the dogs would dig up his little body.

The nice thing about making your own compost is you know what's in it. Every now and then I hear about someone getting bad weeds from municipal compost.

Here is how my piles start. You can pile the leaves pretty high at first if they are fluffy. If they are too deep it's harder to manage and it might not rot.

Thumbnail by margocstn
Bulls Gap, TN(Zone 7a)

Can I add unused, grain free salmon dog food to my compost pile? (Taste of the Wild)

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

that would be a nitrogen source. Go easy on it.

(Or donate to animal shelter?)

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I think if you add Salmon - or any dog or cat food - to the compost pile, you risk attracting critters. Skunks are likely, but there are others.

Bulls Gap, TN(Zone 7a)

Thank u sallyg & pollengarden. Good information. I will take sallyg's advice and donate it to our animal shelter. Thanks again for the advice!

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